Heckmondwike Grammar head steps down after 11 years

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Pupils at Heckmondwike Grammar School will say goodbye to their long-serving headmaster when term ends this week.

Michael Cook is retiring after 11 years at the school which he joined as deputy head in 2005 before taking the helm in 2010.

The former physics teacher is a popular figure among staff and children and is well-known in the Kirklees education community and among selective school heads nationally.

Mr Cook began his career in the classroom in 1982, moving from a Hull secondary to Batley Grammar School two years later. He rose through the ranks to serve as head of physics, head of science, director of studies and deputy head before his move to Heckmondwike.

His passion for learning saw him appointed to the Kirklees Schools Forum as representative of secondary heads, and he is also involved with the Dewsbury Learning Trust, Westborough High School and the Grammar School Heads Association.

Under his leadership, Heckmondwike Grammar has continued to develop its facilities and maintained its reputation as one of the highest-performing state schools in the country.

Chair of governors Malcolm Pinder paid tribute to Mr Cook, who will spend his retirement travelling and will remain involved in education in a voluntary capacity.

“I am sure that all staff, parents and students, past and present would regard Mr Cook as an outstanding head and leader, the school having gone from strength to strength in all departments. Students are offered first class opportunities in both academic and social activities. The results in public examinations are second to none, with the school providing the widest range of extra-curricular activities imaginable. It is a place where relationships between all groups and the wider community are outstanding and this owes much to the leadership of Mr Cook.”